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Rule 6.5: Short-term Limited LegalServices

(a) A lawyer whoprovides short-term limited legal services to a client through a one-timeconsultation or a representation provided through a program sponsored by anonprofit organization, a government agency, a law school, or a court, withoutexpectation by either the lawyer or the client that the lawyer will providecontinuing representation in the matter:

(1) is subject to Rules 1.7 and 1.9(a) only if the lawyerknows that the representation of the client involves a conflict of interest;and

(2) is subject to Rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows thatanother lawyer associated with the lawyer in a law firm is disqualified by Rule1.7 or 1.9(a) with respect to the matter.

(b) Except asprovided in paragraph (a)(2), Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representationgoverned by this Rule.

(c) Notwithstandingthe above, other lawyers in a firm are not disqualified from representingclients whose interests are adverse to a client who received short-term limitedlegal services from a lawyer in the firm if:

(1) the lawyer who provided theservices is timely screened from the adverse clients? matters; and

(2) receives no fees directly fromthose matters.

Comments

[1] Legal servicesorganizations, courts, and various nonprofit organizations have establishedprograms through which lawyers provide short-term limited legal services ? suchas advice, a court appearance, or the completion of legal forms ? that willassist persons to address their legal problems without further representationby a lawyer. In these programs, such as legal-advice hotlines, advice-onlyclinics or pro se counseling programs, a client-lawyer relationship isestablished, but there is no expectation that the lawyer's representation of theclient will continue beyond the limited consultation. Such programs arenormally operated under circumstances in which it is not feasible for a lawyerto systematically screen for conflicts of interest as is generally requiredbefore undertaking a representation. See, e.g., Rules 1.7, 1.9 and 1.10.

[2] If a short-termlimited representation would not be reasonable under the circumstances, thelawyer may offer advice to the client but must also advise the client of theneed for further assistance of counsel. Except as provided in this Rule, theRules of Professional Conduct, including Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c), are applicableto the limited representation.

[3] Because a lawyerwho is representing a client in the circumstances addressed by this Ruleordinarily is not able to check systematically for conflicts of interest,paragraph (a) requires compliance with Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) only if the lawyerknows that the representation presents a conflict of interest for the lawyer,and with Rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer in the lawyer'sfirm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) in the matter.

[4] Because thelimited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts ofinterest with other matters being handled by the lawyer's firm, paragraph (b)provides that Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by thisRule except as provided by paragraph (a)(2). Paragraph (a)(2) requires theparticipating lawyer to comply with Rule 1.10 when the lawyer knows that thelawyer's firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a). By virtue of paragraph(b), however, a lawyer's participation in a short-term limited legal servicesprogram will not preclude the lawyer's firm from undertaking or continuing therepresentation of a client with interests adverse to a client being representedunder the program's auspices. Nor will the personal disqualification of alawyer participating in the program be imputed to other lawyers participatingin the program.

[5] If, aftercommencing a short-term limited representation in accordance with this Rule, alawyer undertakes to represent the client in the matter on an ongoing basis,Rules 1.7, 1.9(a) and 1.10 become applicable.

[5a] This Rule differs from ABA Model Rule 6.5to the extent that it changes the title, changes paragraph (a), and adds newparagraph (c).

Effective January 19, 2021

 

 

 

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